Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ian Lyons

I’m interested in how the Mind/Brain works (Brind? Mrain?). Moderately more specifically, I’m interested in how the Brind/Mrain does math. What are the cognitive and neural precursors that allow children to understand basic numerical and mathematical concepts? What role does culture play? For instance, is education essentially a requirement for most humans to grasp even basic mathematics? If so, then what can psychology and neuroscience tell us about how to improve math education? What can math education tell us about how to improve psychology and neuroscience? Good science needs good questions, and experience suggests that educators tend to ask very good questions. Send us a question, and we’ll see what we can do. 



Curriculum Vitae                    Publications                    More About Ian

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Mike Slipenkyj

Mike recently defended his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Lyons. Mike is now a postdoctoral researcher in the lab focused primarily on investigating the representation of numbers and mathematics in the brain. He is also interested in understanding how factors such as the learning environment, computational context, and individual differences influence numerical processing. Mike is currently working on projects involving behavioral, eye-tracking, and fMRI data. Outside of research, Mike enjoys hiking with his dog, playing board games, and eating delicious food. Interested in connecting with Mike? Feel free to send him an email!


Graduate Students

Cynthia Fioriti

Cynthia is in the Human Development and Public Policy program under the mentorship of Ian Lyons. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychological & Brain Sciences, with concentrations in Neuroscience and Computer Science, from Catholic University in 2019. After graduation, she went on to work at the National Institutes of Health where she studied the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on episodic and procedural memory networks. Cynthia is interested in the functional and structural representations of mathematical learning in the brain, and how these systems translate into behavior and cognition.


Raeanne Martell

Raeanne joined the Graduate Program in 2021 to work under the mentorship of Ian Lyons. Prior to coming to Georgetown, she earned both her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science with a focus in cognitive psychology, and her master’s degree in Teaching with a focus in elementary education from the University of Virginia. Her research interests focus on better understanding the role mathematical techniques used in classrooms – from timed activities to hands-on scaffolding measures – play in mathematical performance among young learners.


Lab Manager

Erika Ikeda

Erika is primarily interested in affective computing, visual cognition, and emotion regulation. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology at Rutgers University and has been with the Math Brain Lab since. In the lab, Erika is currently working on projects involving fMRI data, social networks, algorithmic feedback, and visual perception.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Bijan Tabrizian

Bijan is currently a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and his research interests revolve around mental health interventions (primarily trauma recovery, depression research, and anxiety disorders), although he is currently focused on decision making processes and the interconnections between math anxiety and attentional processes. He is working on projects examining the interrelations between executive functioning and mathematical ability in young children and a study looking at the effects of math anxiety on decision making processes in medicine and finance.

Ella Lesher

Ella is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences who is double majoring in neurobiology and government. She is interested not only in how the brain is able to complete mathematical calculations but also in the etiology of math anxiety. More generally, Ella is passionate about the intersection of legal and scientific fields of study, and she is looking to attend law school upon graduation.

Lauren Santoro

Lauren is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences who is majoring in psychology with an English and disability studies double-minor. She is interested in how disability, illness, education, and psychotherapy interventions can help us understand people with anxiety disorders, math anxiety, and depression. Post-Georgetown, she plans to go to grad school to become a therapist, primarily working with adolescent and young adult populations.

Heidi Paisley

Heidi is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences from Salt Lake City, Utah majoring in psychology and double minoring in cognitive science and disability studies. She is interested in the structural and functional processes behind how we connect with each other, ourselves, and the environment. After earning her bachelor's degree, Heidi plans on attending graduate school and pursuing a career in the mental health field.

Mackenzie Holian

Mackenzie is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences from Boston, Massachusetts majoring in Justice and Peace Studies and minoring in public health. She is interested in the impacts of modern technology on mental health and human behavior, specifically how it plays a role in anxiety disorders and math anxiety. After earning her bachelor's degree, Mackenzie plans on pursuing a higher education that allows her to combine her passions for social justice and public health.

Lab Alumni

Emily Bach


Kate Bohigian

Allison del Castillo

Alaina Chen

Ava Cobarrubias

Robert Cortes

Sofia Danzo

Angela Foley

Jacqueline Friskey

Kieran Glowacki

Katie Ho

Liddy Kasraian

Hanna Kim


Theresa Kim

Isabella King

Kunbi Kolawole


Gaeun Lee

Subul Malik

Vincent Miller

Caitlin Murray

Saba Nia

Sydney Parker

Ilona Ponyatyshyn

Howard Tai

Jiuru Wang

Milton Yoon

Yixuan Zhao